Here’s all you need to know about Competency-Based Curriculum

What you need to know:

  • Children will spend two years in pre-primary, six years in primary and six years in secondary school.
  • At the end of pre-primary 2, the learners will be assessed internally, but will all transition to Grade 1 in primary school.

A day after President Uhuru Kenyatta unveiled the competency based curriculum (CBC), education stakeholders spent a better part of Wednesday trying to understand how it will change school.

Teachers, learners, parents, education officials, the civil society, and religious leaders made phone calls to the Nation newsroom, seeking information.

Here is a sample of the most frequently asked questions and answers, as adopted from the report by the taskforce on implementation of CBC.

  • How many years will learners spend at each level, and school in total?

Children will spend two years in pre-primary, six years in primary and six years in secondary school.

Those who proceed to university will study for three years while those who join certificate, diploma and technical courses will study for varied periods depending on the programme.

The cumulative years spent in school will also be reduced by one.

Under 8-4-4, learners spend 18 years in school, when the two years of pre-school are factored in.

Under CBC, they will spend 17 years following the structure of 2-6-3-3-3.

  • What will happen at the end of every level?

At the end of pre-primary 2, the learners will be assessed internally but will all transition to Grade 1 in primary school.

Primary school has been divided into lower (Grade 1,2,3) and upper (Grades 4,5,6).

At Grade 3, they will undertake a school-based national assessment to monitor their learning but this will not be used for ranking or placement as they all proceed to Grade 4, 5 and 6.

At each of these grades, learners will be assessed in tests weighted at 20 per cent each year.

This marks the end of the primary cycle. Learners will undertake a national assessment that will be weighted at 40 per cent to add on to the 60 per cent scored in the previous years.

The performance of the learners at this level and their interests will be used to place them in junior secondary school (JSS), which will constitute Grades 7,8 and 9.

All the current secondary schools in the country will have a JSS section.

Learners will again be formatively assessed with a summative assessment at the end of JSS (Grade 9).

The scores and learners’ preferences will be used for placement in senior secondary school (SSS) where they will follow one of their preferred pathways.

  • Will KCPE and KCSE exams be retained?

No. The exams will cease to exist as we know them. For KCPE, it will be replaced by the assessment described above which is a combination of formative and summative tests.

Teachers will play a crucial role in the administration and scoring of the formative assessments which are more like what is referred to as continuous assessment tests (CAT).

It is only the summative assessment, accounting for 40 per cent of the marks, which may resemble KCPE.

It is still not yet decided what the examination and certificate awarded at the end of primary school will be named. 

“The summative assessment is prompted by the need to allow learners from across the country to access schools which have superior infrastructure and a culture of good performance, thus enhancing equity,” the report by the taskforce on CBC implementation reads.

  • Will learners transition to secondary school younger than under 8-4-4?

Yes. It is expected that the entry age for secondary school will be lowered from the current average of 14 years to 12 years.

However, they will spend six years in secondary school rather than the current four.

The rationale behind it is that they need more time to master content in secondary than in primary school.

In the East African Community, it is only in Kenya where learners spend eight years in primary school. In Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi they take six while in Uganda, they take seven.

  • What will be learnt in the three pathways in senior secondary, and which schools will offer them?

The pathways are: Arts and Sports Science, Social Sciences and Science Technical Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

Each of the pathways will have various individual subjects attached to it.

The following tracks are under the Arts and Sports Science Pathway: Sports Science, Performing Arts, and Visual Arts.

Under the Social Sciences Pathway, learners will choose between two tracks: Languages and Literature and Humanities and Business Studies.

Under STEM, learners will choose from the following tracks: Pure Sciences, Applied Sciences, Technical and Engineering and Careers and Technology Studies.

Secondary schools that can host all three senior secondary school pathways will be identified and their infrastructural capacity progressively enhanced.

  • What is different in how learners are taught in 8-4-4 and in CBC?

The main difference is that 8-4-4 focuses more on mastery on content, which encourages rote learning, while CBC focuses on learners’ performance of skills and competencies that are observable.

According to the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, a change of the curriculum was necessitated by a needs assessment of the curriculum viewed against the aspirations of the nation.

Also recommendations by previous commissions on education since 1964 have never been fully implemented, leaving gaps in the offering of education.

  • What competencies will be taught/learnt?

There are seven core competencies in CBC.

These are: communication and collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, imagination and creativity, citizenship, learning to learn, self-efficacy and digital literacy.

The competencies are embedded in all the learning areas at all the levels.

  • Which countries were used to benchmark the CBC?

Canada and Israel are Kenya’s model countries of CBC implementation.

Comparative studies were done against Singapore, select states in the US (Alaska, California, Maine, New Hampshire etc, in the UK (Scotland and Wales), Japan, Germany, Netherlands, Indonesia, South Korea, Rwanda, South Sudan.

  • What learning areas will be under CBC?

There will be the following learning areas in pre-primary: Language Activities, Mathematical Activities, Environmental Activities, Psychomotor and Creative Activities, Religious Education Activities and Pre-Braille Activities.

Digital literacy and pertinent and contemporary issues are integrated across all learning areas.

The learning areas in lower primary are: Literacy Activities/Braille Literacy Activities, Kiswahili Language Activities/Kenya Sign Language for learners who are deaf, English Language Activities, Mathematical Activities, Environmental Activities, Hygiene and Nutrition Activities, Religious Education Activities, Movement and Creative Activities.

ICT serves as a learning tool in all areas. Pertinent and contemporary issues are mainstreamed in all learning areas.

Learning areas for upper primary will be: English, Kiswahili or Kenya Sign Language, Home Science, Agriculture, Science and Technology, Mathematics, Religious Education, Creative Arts, Physical and Health Education and Social Studies.

Arabic, French, German, Mandarin are optional foreign languages. Interested learners can also learn indigenous languages, Kenyan Sign Language and Braille literacy.

Learners will be required to take the 12 core subjects provided in JSS: English, Kiswahili or Kenyan Sign Language, Mathematics, Integrated Science, Health Education, Pre-Technical and Pre-Career Education, Social Studies, Religious Education, Business Studies, Agriculture, Life Skills, Sports and Physical Education.

At SSS, the different tracks will have different learning areas.

  • Are schools prepared for the full implementation of CBC?

Not adequately.

The curriculum is progressively being rolled out. More investment will be required to improve infrastructure, especially in secondary schools which will require laboratories, sports and music facilities, workshops etc.

The new state department for the implementation of CBC that was announced on Tuesday by Mr Kenyatta is expected to oversee this and also the funding.

All teachers will also need to be trained for them to effectively deliver CBC.


dmuchunguh@ke.nationmedia.com

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